The Most Common Misconceptions About Remote Work (Telecommuting)

Are you feeling the pressure to allow your staff to work from home?

As remote access technology continues to evolve, and as millennials continue to flood the workforce, the question of telecommuting is one that’s hard to avoid. Is it the right move for you?

This is a discussion we’ve had with dozens and dozens of DC-area law firms, associations, and businesses over the years, and is an important one to have from not just a technology perspective, but from a business strategy perspective.

As part of these conversations, we often find ourselves debunking a few common misconceptions about remote work. We’ve listed the top 3 below, along with what we’ve found to be the case instead.

1. I’ll lose control of my company data.

Remote access makes me nervous about controlling my data. Aren’t we better off if access to our company files is restricted to our office?

In our experience, data sprawl is actually more likely when organizations don’t have a remote access strategy; well-intentioned staff will email a document to their personal address or use their personal Dropbox account so that they can continue working on a document from home.

Now you have a bunch of company files in places you can’t ever touch.

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2. My team’s productivity is going to go WAY down.

If my employees are working from home, can’t they just goof off all day on the company dime?

Yes, they absolutely could. But this should show itself very quickly in that person’s output; if your managers are doing a good job of holding their teams accountable for their work, low performers will stick out like a sore thumb.

This becomes an opportunity to coach that person, or to separate yourself from someone who wasn’t a good fit for your company in the first place.

3. I’m going to end up paying thousands in overtime.

Will “work anywhere” turn into “work anytime”? I don’t want my nonexempt employees to start racking up hours upon hours in overtime.

This is technically possible, but we find that this risk is easily mitigated at the policy level.

At Optimal, for example, our nonexempt employees must get explicit supervisor approval for any overtime hours worked. It hasn’t been a problem, even though our team has 24/7/365 access to our system.
Ultimately, we believe that there are many benefits to embracing telecommuting in your business. That said, it isn’t the right solution for everyone.

We hope this helps you make an informed decision, and would be happy to chat about any other questions you may have!

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Topics: remote work, cloud